Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has lamented the lack of aggression and compact in his side during the "amazed" 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday 4 October. The Dutch boss refused to single out his defence for the disappointing result as he believes the whole team were to blame for the dreadful start to the game.
The Gunners surprised van Gaal's side with three goals in the opening 20 minutes. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil scored twice within 33 seconds before the Chilean international netted a third to send his side to the second place in the Premier League. Van Gaal admitted he was "amazed" with his side's disappointing start to the game as his side arrived at the Emirates Stadium in sensational form following three consecutive Premier League victories – and as well the Champions League win over Wolfsburg.
"I didn't expect that. I was surprised. No performing our game-plan, no will to win. We were top of the league so I was surprised – maybe 'amazed' is a better word," he admitted. "When you give a team like Arsenal so much space to play football, you know you shall lose. We have prepared ourselves in that way, to play more compact, but not to lose our aggression. It was amazing for me and very disappointing. The players are in an emotional moment because we have lost. We have lost in a way you cannot lose when you are top of the league. You cannot start like that."
"The midfielders, especially [Santi] Cazorla and [Mesut] Ozil, had too much space and they have the quality to make the most of it," the boss added. "We lost every duel, every second ball. We were not tight on their midfielders, and they can play because they are a fantastic team. We have to do better as a team. The defence starts with the attacker. We have to be more compact against teams like Barcelona, PSG and Arsenal, but with the same aggression."
Meanwhile, the Dutch boss laments that the international break will not allow him to analyse the mistakes made with his whole squad.
"My biggest concern is that the players are flying out from London because they have to go to their national teams, so we cannot prepare for the match against Everton," he said. "I have to wait to see if the players are fit enough but also mentally fit enough to play. We cannot train because they are coming back on Wednesday and Thursday, so it is much better to win and then you can prepare the next game. Before the last international break we lost against Swansea City, but we won against Liverpool after it, so we can do it, but today was a shock for me."